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Breakers NBL finals loss 'an afterthought'

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/10/2016 Angelo Risso

Mika Vukona of New Zealand competes against Devin Williams of Melbourne © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images Mika Vukona of New Zealand competes against Devin Williams of Melbourne New NBL team, new beginnings and new challenges.

That's the message from Breakers coach Paul Henare as his side look to take on their 2015/16 NBL grand final opponents Perth on Friday.

The Wildcats trumped their distant foes 2-1 in the three-game NBL final series last season, with two wins at their Perth Arena home.

However for Henare, who has taken over the Breakers' reins this year from Dean Vickerman, the 2015/16 outcome hasn't been given much thought.

Both sides have made major squad changes for the 2016/17 campaign, with the Breakers losing star point guard Cedric Jackson in particular.

Perth had looked a more athletic side than last year in their seven-point round-one loss to the Brisbane Bullets.

They lost guns Nathan Jawai and Jermaine Beal in the off-season but would be no less dangerous, according to Henare.

"Whether some of the guys use that as extra motivation or not, I'm not sure, but certainly as a team we don't see it that way," Henare said.

"I haven't really put much brain power into the fact it's a rematch of last year's final."

The Breakers surprised Jackson's much-fancied Melbourne United outfit 76-71 last weekend, with new imports Ben Woodside and Akil Mitchell impressing.

The side's fourth quarter was particularly strong as they laid on 28 points, including a 15-point streak, to leave United in their wake.

Henare said his side had overcome their interrupted pre-season, in which they lost six matches, and were looking to establish consistency.

"Continuing to improve the on-court chemistry, that's the biggest one, just continue to build and build with healthy bodies," Henare said.

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